Hunt's party laid the groundwork for future trapping expeditions across the Snake River Plain. Donald Mackenzie, who accompanies Hunt and later joined the British North West Company, returned to establish trade relations with resident Indian bands. After the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies merged in 1821, annual fur brigades were led into the area by Alexander Ross (1824), Peter Skene Ogden (1825-1830) and John Work (1830-31).
When American fur trappers appeared on the scene, it became Hudson's Bay Company policy to deplete the beaver supply in southern Idaho. The trappers dramatically reduced beaver populations, putting the fur trade in decline by the 1830s. Yet, by then, the trappers had blazed the future Oregon Trail across southern Idaho for the tide of emigration to follow.
Settlers began emigrating in large numbers after 1843. During the next 25 years more than a half million people journeyed West, seeking free land, new opportunities, and helping to claim the area for the United States. Wagon trains left the Missouri River in early spring and reached southern Idaho in late summer. Fear of Indian hostilities, blazing heat, choking dust, relentless thirst, and sheer tedium made crossing Idaho's Snake River Plain dreaded and difficult.
When the emigrants reached Bonneville Point, they viewed the wooded banks of the Boise River below and knew they had survived the hardships. Upon arrival here, they had traveled 1,450 miles and completed two-thirds of their journey.
"proceeded down Reed's (Boise) River. At the end of three days' toil we got clear of the mountains and into a highly picturesque and open country well furnished with animals of the chace. Our first lift of beaver was 64-. Added to this charming prospect six elks and seventeen small deer coming into camp at once filled a starving and dissatisfied people with abundance - and for a moment my people were cheerful, industrious, and obedient."
—Alexander Ross, 1824